Mistaken identity blamed in fatal shooting of LI cop

Nassau County Police Officer Geoffrey J. Breitkopf was killed in the line of duty on Saturday, March 12, 2011. (Nassau County Police Department)

March 15, 2011 12:09:02 PM PDT
Authorities are blaming mistaken identity in the shooting death of a police officer on Long Island over the weekend.

"This situation shouldn't happen, Geoff was never a threat to anyone," said James Carver, Nassau PBA President.

Carver was clearly distraught over the death of veteran police officer Geoffrey Breitkopf.

The 40-year-old was killed by an MTA officer now identified as Glen Gentile.

It happened over the weekend when Gentile was responding to assist Nassau Police after 21-year-old Anthony DiGeronimo; a self described Satanist was shot dead by officers inside his parents' home in Massapequa.

Breitkopf showed up at the scene after the shooting and crossed paths with MTA officer gentile on the front lawn.

Here's how it all transpired. At around 8:13 p.m. Nassau Police respond to report that DiGeronimo was menacing neighbors.

At around 8:18 p.m. DiGeronimo opens his bedroom door and lunges at police with knives in his hands and also strapped to his body and is shot dead.

Several minutes later Gentile and another MTA officer who happen to be nearby show up at scene to help.

At 8:30 p.m. Breitkopf and another officer arrive at scene from the Bureau of Special Operations.

Moments later, Breitkopf is shot and killed.

But, according to Carver, Breitkopf was almost at the front door, was in plainclothes, and wearing his shield.

He had his rifle at his side when a retired city cop yelled someone's got a gun.

He says one MTA officer tried to grab Breitkopf, and that's when Gentile took aim and fired at close range.

It was the second line-of-duty death of a Nassau County officer this year.

Highway patrolman Michael Califano was killed Feb. 5 when a truck slammed into his police cruiser in Old Westbury.

Donations and funeral arrangements

In response to the outpouring of support of those seeking to send donations for the family of Nassau County Police Officer Geoffrey J. Breitkopf who was killed in the line of duty on March 12, 2011, donations can be made to the Geoffrey J. Breitkopf Memorial Fund, c/o Nassau County P.B.A., 89 E. Jericho Tpke., Mineola, NY 11501. Officer Breitkopf leaves behind a wife and two young boys.

Viewing and Funeral Service:

The public is invited to pay their respects at the Selden Fire Department Headquarters, 44 Woodmere Place, Selden, New York, on Wednesday, March 16 and Thursday, March 17, 2:00 - 5:00 p.m. and 7:00 - 9:00 p.m.

Funeral services for Officer Geoffrey J. Breitkopf will be held at St. Margaret of Scotland Roman Catholic Church, 81 College Road, Selden, New York, on Friday, March 18, 2011, at 12:30 p.m.

Interment will follow at Holy Sepulchre Cemetery, 3442 Route 112, Coram, New York.

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